One of the things most women say they wish they had more of is self confidence. I often watch people rule a room and wonder what their secret is. Long ago I was on a panel titled, “The Next Generation of Creative Directors.” I was clueless how I got on the panel and nervous as hell. One of the creative directors took me aside and told me his secret was to grasp the side of the podium and send all of his nervous energy into it. I’m not sure if that did the trick or whether it was the fact I got to go first before I heard the brilliance of everyone else.
So how do you go about gaining self-confidence?
Become an industry or topic expert.
Just because you graduated college doesn’t mean learning ends. In fact one of the keys to an enduring career is staying on top of news, innovation and the thought leaders in your space. Knowledge is a great confidence booster. And it will set the stage for your public speaking. Nothing makes you feel better than preparation and this is part of it.
Come up with an idea and own the project.
It’s a great way to test multiple skill sets like organization and planning, building a team, inspiring thinking and communicating your idea. When the project is over and deemed a success, you’ll find it gives you not only a sense of value, but also another block on your towering sense of self-confidence. And you can practice your speaking skills by presenting the project internally without the pressure of the public.
Put yourself out there and speak on panels and as a solo speaker.
I was once painfully shy and had a terrible fear of public speaking. I made myself speak. My first time was on a panel and I went last. This is always a big mistake for me. After I heard the two other seasoned veterans speak all I could think of was how I was going to sound. But I got through it and several people came up after to say they liked what I was saying if I only slow down. LOL! This is a valuable tip…no matter how nervous you are try not to speak at the speed of a locomotive. I can attest though that practice does make it better over time, but I still have some stage fright.
And if you can, have a friend or co-worker shoot video of your presentation so you can watch yourself. I blink a lot and need to remember to look around the audience more. You’ll gain tips and see that you’re probably better than you thought you were.
What confidence building tips do you have?